Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Green, Breathing Spaces -- The Significance of Parks at a Time of Pandemic

The reimagined Japanese garden at Sycip Park
After the lockdowns were eased a bit, it was a great time to revisit nearby parks in my corner of Metro Manila.  The Washington Sycip Park in Legaspi Village, Makati, is about 10-12 minutes brisk walk away from home but I looked forward to being surrounded by trees after being walled by concrete during the ECQ periods.  Not that I don't have plants and birds outside my window but it's nice to go out, have coffee and a donut in the park while breathing in the air sans a mask.  Of course, social distancing is still a must as well as putting on a mask and face shield after eating and drinking as well as venturing to and from the park.  I would like to think quite a lot of people feel the same way as I can see the park frequented by a number of people, young and old, who seem eager to go out for a breath of fresher air.

It does make me appreciate our nearby Makati parks more especially at this time of pandemic.  It's worthwhile, too, to consider that the parks are situated on prime real estate but happily, were spared from being bulldozed and constructed over.  I'm sure the birds, the skinks, and now, the squirrels, appreciate the presence of these green belts.  Joggers use the trails of the Sycip Park and the nearby Active Park for exercise; dogsitters and dogparents visit leashed to each other, while families usually congregate and picnic on the weekends.  At one point in our lives, most, if not all of us, have come across the phrase "the redemptive powers of nature" and honestly, most of people who gravitate to the city take it as hyperbole.  It's wonderful especially for the new generation to rediscover a piece of nature in the urban areas where we live.  Well, whatever was left by developers anyway for green spaces.

These are not just a reprieve for eyes sore from seeing concrete and glass all day though the green lushness will not be lost on the most jaded of city eyes.  These are literally breathing spaces, safe spaces, where humans, animals, and plants trade oxygen and carbon dioxide.  After being locked down for so long, these green spaces can form part of a collective coping mechanism we can tap into every now and then to provide a pocket of respiratory relief, a change of scenery, a venue for meditation and introspection, a have for normalcy in a period of time that's gone viral, literally.  The core of the truth is that we all can benefit from a dose of nature to keep our sanity intact in a pandemic-stricken world.

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